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Rumors of Brett Gardner’s demise may be exaggerated. Aaron Boone certainly thinks he may return for one more season with the Yankees.
Any Yankee fan writing off the possibility of Brett Gardner extending his tenure with the club needs to think again. Aaron Boone’s recent comments about the veteran outfielder make it clear there is still a strong chance he’ll be donning pinstripes on Opening Day.
Boone stopped well short of guaranteeing a Gardner return, but he also passed on the opportunity to quell rumors connecting the fan-favorite with a return to the Bronx. When asked about the chances of Gardner finding his way into camp before Opening Day the Yankees’ manager coyly replied “we’ll see.”
This is an instance where a manager’s relative silence speaks volumes. Boone keenly understands the value Gardner provides the Yankees both on the field and in the clubhouse.
The question is whether or not Brian Cashman and his front office can make the economics work for both sides.
Yankees Rumors: Will Brett Gardner stay in the Bronx?
The organization has given Cashman a clear mandate to stay under the luxury tax. If Gardner doesn’t come back into the fold, that will clearly be the reason why his Yankees career ends before his retirement. There’s zero question that Gardner still has something to give New York as a valuable outfield reserve.
He shouldn’t be deployed as an everyday starter at this point in his career, but he’s still an above-average defender at multiple outfield positions. His ability to play centerfield adequately is a real plus for a Yankee team that can be short on athleticism up the middle.
At the plate, Gardner still has surprising pop from the left side. That’s something the Yankees don’t currently have at their disposal heading into the 2021 campaign. He may not have the typical stature of a late-inning power pinch hitter, but Gardner knows how to use the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium to his advantage.
Time will tell if Gardner is willing to accept the sort of salary the Yankees feel like they can afford, but it would be foolish to rule the idea of him re-signing with the team out at this point. Boone has more than left the door open for a reunion between the two parties.